Pittsburgh Pirates home stand report card for 8/17-8/24
Joaquin Benoit pitched the seventh inning of a one-run game in last Thursday’s opener with St. Louis. Shockingly, this did not go well. Benoit allowed three earned runs, Wade LeBlanc allowed four more in the ninth, and the Pirates lost. Both Benoit and LeBlanc have been horrendous recently, and both are now on the disabled list. As much as I hate to see players on the shelf, hopefully, younger guys like Steven Brault can step up in their absence.
Saturday night, Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero both allowed home runs to make a 6-1 game a 6-4 game. Fortunately, Rivero closed the door without any further damage. In an unusual turn of events, the bullpen did a good job Sunday night. Four relievers combined to shut out the Red Birds over 4.1 innings, making for a perfect ending to what looked like a perfect day in Williamsport.
After Benoit shocked the world by pitching not one, but two shutout innings Monday, one bad pitch from rookie Dovydas Neverauskas to veteran Yasiel Puig gave the Dodgers what proved to be the winning run. Neverauskas has shown promise in his first season, and it will be interesting to see if he will make the most of his chances to shine.
Johnny Barbato and Edgar Santana scuffled the next night, combining to allow three runs. Like Neverauskus, Barbato and Santana are two young guys that can benefit from Benoit and LeBlanc being on the shelf. Even if these youngsters struggle, at least we know they have a chance get better. It is unlikely, if not impossible, that LeBlanc and Benoit will ever be much different than what they are now. Santana, Barbato, and Neverauskus all can improve.
Thanks to Trevor Williams, the bullpen only pitched two innings Wednesday night. Nicasio and Rivero did their thing, allowing Josh Harrison to do his.
As has become the status quo, the relievers allowed plenty of runs this week. Unlike most weeks, however, we got to see young players in action. We’ve seen far too much of the Daniel Hudson’s of the world in 2017. It’s time we see more of the Edger Santana’s.